South Johnston swept varsity basketball contests against visiting nonconference opponent Midway on Monday night.
South Johnston’s girls snapped a five-game losing streak with a 43-28 win.
“We had a lot of turnovers in that second and third quarter,” said South Johnston girls coach Whitney Williams. “But I thought we came back better than we have probably all season in that third quarter. I think the third quarter definitely set the precedent. But we still have a lot of things we need to work on.”
Midway girls coach Allen McLamb was disappointed with his team’s effort.
“Worst game we’ve played all year by far,” McLamb said. “We looked like we hadn’t played all year. Don’t know where anybody was. Nobody stepped up to fix anything. Everybody ran away. Nobody was ready to shoot. If we play like this tomorrow night, we’re going to lose another conference game. I know we lost Friday night (at East Duplin), but I thought we’d come out with a lot of energy, ready to play. And we had none tonight.”
Senior McKinley Sills and junior Katon Blackmon had eight points apiece to lead the Trojans (4-8).
“Katon’s really stepped up for us these past two games,” coach Williams said. “Not only on rebounds, but also on put backs. I think she’s doing a really, really good job just stepping in and really taking over down low for us in the post.”
Janay McDonald had six points. Mattie Wheeless had five points. Jenna Brown and Kaylee Creech had four points apiece. Madison Cole had three points. Kennedy Byrd and Nikki Lee had two points apiece. Diamond Judkins had one point.
“I definitely think the ball movement was there tonight,” coach Williams said. “I think they were not only able to dish inside to McKinley or Madison Cole, when she was in there, they were also able to dish in and kick back out once the defense drew in on them. I think they did a really good job of executing that tonight.”
Sophomore Kris’Shyia McKoy led the Raiders (10-3) with 14 points.
Caitlyn Holland and Jenna Pope had four points apiece. Rylie Williams had three points. Makenzi Hudson had two points. Alyssa Hargrove had one point.
Midway never held a lead in the contest.
South started the game strong, outscoring Midway 11-5 in the first quarter.
After a three from Creech early in the second quarter extended South’s lead to nine before the Raiders responded with an 11-2 run to tie the game at 16. But a drive and dish from McDonald gave Blackmon a wide-open look to score at the buzzer to give the Trojans an 18-16 halftime lead.
A Rylie Williams free throw early in the third quarter cut the lead to one, but South answered with a 17-3 run to end the third with a 35-20 lead. South led by double digits the rest of the way.
South Johnston went cold after a red-hot start, but was able to hold off Midway to take a 53-44 win in the boys game.
“We played like we wanted to be out here in the first quarter and then just kind of played with no purpose the rest of the way,” said South Johnston boys coach Brody Massengill. “We’ve got to do better than that. I told (Midway coach) Aaron (Lane), I thought they played hard. I haven’t seen them play a whole lot, but I thought they really played hard and they did some good things.”
Midway coach Aaron Lane was pleased with the effort his team showed.
“I’m really, really encouraged by our group tonight, by our effort in the second, third and fourth quarter,” Lane said. “We played a lot better basketball than what I expected of us the whole year. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself and say we’re starting to figure it out, but you hope at some point that this might be the starting point that we’re starting to figure it out. I’m very encouraged. I don’t like losing and trying to make losing a good thing, but there’s a lot to build off of tonight. The guys are encouraged and we’re not down in the dumps tonight.”
Senior Thomas Dees and junior Dylan Bates had nine points apiece to pace the Trojans (12-2).
Colby Norris had seven points. Jeremiah McLean and Cole Winborne had five points apiece. Jonathan Watts and Austin Denning had four points apiece. David Carter and C.J. Ray had three points apiece. Sam Webster and Chase Carroll had two points apiece.
“A lot of guys got some playing time that hadn’t been playing and we got to rest some guys that had been banged up a little bit,” Massengill said.
Senior Cameron Barefoot had 12 points to lead the Raiders (4-8).
“When he puts 12 points on the board, we’re sitting in a good spot,” Lane said.
Lane was pleased with the efforts of senior Jaden Covington, who finished with eight points.
“One thing that Jaden did most of all, him and Tyler (Godwin) included, they rebounded the basketball,” Lane said. “He got the job done tonight. He really stepped up and was key in that 1-3-1 defense we were playing tonight.”
Tyler Godwin and Thornton Baggett had seven points apiece. Jamar Autry had six points. Luke Strickland and Lane Baggett had two points apiece.
South came out firing on all cylinders, going on a 23-4 run through the first quarter.
“Everything was clicking,” Massengill said. “It’s fun when you get to watch your guys play when everything’s clicking like that. And really what happened is we played well and then 16- and 17-year-old boys looked up at the scoreboard and thought, ‘Oh, it’s over,’ and they didn’t feel like they had to play three more quarters.”
But South’s offense turned ice cold for the next two quarters, as Midway outscored South 9-6 in the second quarter and 4-2 in the third.
With South holding a 47-34 lead late in the fourth, Midway went on an 8-4 run to cut the lead to single digits, but time ran out on the Raiders’ rally.
Midway is at East Central 2-A Conference and Sampson County rival Clinton on Tuesday night. South Johnston travels to nonconference foe Corinth Holders on Wednesday night.